How Print Graphics Can Enhance Visual Merchandising At Christmas

by Andy Wilson
on 16th November 2022

With Halloween decorations stowed in their box for another year and the clocks firmly turned back, brands everywhere are moving away from all things spooky and diving headfirst into the festive season. Whether it’s restaurants taking big bookings for work parties, couples whisking themselves away for Christmas breaks or people organising festive family days out, this a booming time of year for many kinds of businesses, but it’s most often in retail where Christmas sales can make the biggest difference.

This means retail brands both large and small will be dusting off their Santa hats and digging into their Christmas spirit to rustle up the most tempting retail displays possible, aiming to put themselves head and shoulders above their equally festive-feeling competition. Here at PressOn, we’re far from immune to a bit of Christmas cheer, and in this article, we’ll explore how you can use print to the best effect in your Yuletide visual merchandising displays.

Visual Merchandising At Christmas

With the scent of mulled wine in the air, storefront windows glittering invitingly and bedazzled Christmas trees standing resplendent in town squares, the atmosphere of shopping districts over the festive period can be unique and enchanting. This is why, for brick-and-mortar retailers, it’s so important that the inside of their business premises matches or exceeds the promise of magic that sparkles outside.

Visual merchandising is integral to achieving this impact and is one of the most powerful tools retailers have to sell their products at this busy time of year. First impressions matter in retail, and it’s particularly important at Christmas. With so many brands vying for people’s attention, it’s vital to connect with customers quickly with visually engaging retail displays, ensuring that shoppers feel immersed in an atmospheric aesthetic experience that carries them away with festive feelings.

For this reason, visual merchandising at Christmas is something which shouldn’t become an afterthought and is well worth really mining your creativity for. It can be all too easy to fall into the tropes at Christmas, and while tradition is no bad thing, you can elevate your festive visual merchandising efforts to go above and beyond your competitors.

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How Print Can Help In Your Visual Merchandising Strategy

While people tend to think of billboards and banners when they consider print advertising, the medium is actually far more adaptable and diverse than many expect, and is ideally placed in the creation of indoor retail displays.

When you are planning your visual merchandising at Christmas, understanding how print can deepen the festive experience for your customers can help you make the best choices to drive sales.

Whether it’s a table display highlighting Christmassy products or a whole festive “store within a store” (where a significant chunk of the retail space is given over to create a festive wonderland and where all seasonal products are sold), print is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your customers.

Some ideas for using print in visual merchandising include:

Hanging a beautiful tension fabric system from the ceiling to catch the customer’s eye.
Evoking a Christmas atmosphere through the soft glow of an LED lightbox.
Drawing customers to key points of sale with fun and interactive floor graphics.
Including glass manifestations on any internal glazing.
Using banners, stands and pop-up graphics to dress a festive space.
Transforming your interior walls with wallpaper or one-piece wall graphics.

Festive Visual Merchandising Tips

It can take time and money to put together a retail display that truly celebrates certain products. Here are some tips for getting it right.

Start with a mood board:

While some people have a knack for putting design elements together to create a visually pleasing result, this isn’t something even the most experienced retailers can do on the fly. Putting together a mood board helps you to make key decisions in advance, and browsing sources such as Instagram and Pinterest can help you come up with ideas.

By considering your target audience, use a mood board to determine factors such as the style you’re aiming for (such as classic, tasteful, modern or playful) and settle on your theme. Remember that just “Christmas” is unlikely to be specific enough to offer enough of a guide or fulfil your goals, whereas more defined themes such as “enchanted ice palace”, “winter starlight” or “Santa’s cosy cottage” are more likely to capture the imagination.

Commit to your ideas

When it comes to visual merchandising at Christmas, don’t do anything half-heartedly. Token gestures placed here and there throughout a retail space will result in an uninspired and confused look, and will be more likely to put customers off than draw them in. In visual merchandising, you must fully commit to the theme to make an impact and get your tills ringing.

Create an immersive experience

One effective trend in visual merchandising is “sensory branding”, where retailers attempt to create a multisensory experience that tempts visitors to browse in-store. There are all kinds of sensory cues which remind people of Christmas, whether it’s the taste of cinnamon or the smell of pine, and brand owners can play into this in a variety of ways, whether it’s creating tasting tables or using scent boxes.

Evoke a festive atmosphere through lighting

Lighting is important in retail throughout the entire year, but it can be particularly effective at Christmas, and especially for brands selling products at higher price points. While supermarket retailers will deploy bright overhead lighting to create a clean, light-saturated look which helps customers discern important information about thousands of products, clarity isn’t the only goal for many brands. Just think of the way Swarovski utilises tiny spotlights to make their products glitter, or Waterstones chooses a softer yellow light for a cosy feel.

In the UK, Christmas takes place over the darkest point of the year, making lighting particularly important. Whether you use a selection of fabric lightboxes, faux candles (safety first!) or shimmering fairy lights, the way you light your products in a visual merchandising display can bring out their most attractive features and create a festive atmosphere.

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Written by
Andy Wilson Managing Director